Some times creating a local movement can be as simple as setting a date and time. Here in Barcelona, it’s the first Friday of every month at PM. Simple. And it works. 

      On that day, every month cyclers from all over Barcelona gather, to chat, laugh and ride together. 350 Barcelona has joined up with the local branch of this global movement, Critical Mass, to help spread awareness about the possibilities of using bikes instead of cars in cities. This movement works, as its name implies, by sheer numbers. There is nothing out-of-the-ordinary about what happens in the event. Very literally, you go for a bike ride around the city. I do that every day, so it hardly seems extraordinary. However, when you and 60 others decide to collectively go for a ride around the city – well then that changes things. Your bike ride becomes part of a movement.

     Last night, the streets of Barcelona honked, rang, and sang to the tune of what a city in a 350 ppm world could look like. There were no panes of glass separating the people waiting for a light to change, and there was no exhaust pumping into the faces of bicyclists waiting for the red to become green . Just bicycles, and people talking face to face, meeting and joking – excited to be part of this exploding movement. 

    350 Barcelona helped to organize the creation of some visuals to help the group communicate their message and to make things more festive. See this great video by artist Hans Hansen to see the process. We wanted to make the event more colorful and lively, because we should enjoy this beautiful planet while we save it so that future generations can enjoy it too. That’s why we´ve called October 10th  a Work-Party, because all good work is enjoyable, and we will need all the joy we can muster to continue growing this movement for the years to come. Its going to take a lot of work to get us back down to 350ppm, so lets enjoy it while we do it. 

     This Critical Mass was a “warm up” for 350 Barcelona´s own plans for 10:10:10 – a moveable bike parade. The idea is for each group to come from their own activity, from their urban organic gardens, from their beach clean up campaigns, from their mural projects, and to meet for a giant musical bike ride throughout the city. One bike at a time, one garden at a time, one day at a time, the movement grows. 

     Something occurred to me, as a rolled down the long avenues of Barcelona on my way to meet the rest of the folks at Critical Mass. There is was no bike lane on that street, so I held a lane just as the cars do. But there was a noticeable difference, the cars would all accelerate, even if they were approaching a red light. From my bicycle it seemed absurd, why would I pedal hard just to brake 10 meters later? It seemed like a waste of my energy. And something clicked in my head, to me, that is exactly how I see our fossil fueled society – accelerating as quickly as possible towards the red light, towards the finish line. I didn´t want to stop, so I slowed down, stopped pedaling and let myself drift down the block slowly, by the time I arrived at the light it had changed, I kept up my momentum and slipped on silently down the street to meet the movement that awaited.

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